Study: Just four jobs are worse than being a newspaper reporter

The Wall Street Journal

Those four jobs, according to, are oil rig worker, enlisted military soldier, dairy farmer, and lumberjack. The criteria: physical demands, work environment, income, stress and hiring outlook.

Photojournalists do somewhat better than reporters: They rank at 166, just below dockworkers.

Most of the commenters on seem unhappy with the list. Karen Kelly concludes:

Every year this list amuses me since the top jobs sound like death to me. Actuary? It’s always at the top of the list. All the “best” jobs sound so dreadful to me. They have got to be kidding. Most creative jobs, which offer a lot of personal fulfillment, are at the bottom. I don’t think they take “happiness” or “level of personal satisfaction” into account in this survey. In fact my guess is that the survey was done by actuaries.

Jim Romenesko notes that newspaper reporting has been dropping on the list since 2010, when it ranked 184 out of 200.

Kudos to BBC for using a clip of Monty Python’s “lumberjack song” when reporting this story.

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  • witz

    Well, newspaper reporting is great and noble work, but there’s no future in it now, is there?  

  • dan tynan

    actually, being a journo combines the best elements of all three of those jobs, just substitute ‘editors’ for hostage takers and ‘readers’ for cows.


  • Allen Stjohn

    So does that mean that journalists have it worse off than hostage negotiators, male prostitutes, and the guys who drive the nails into the brains of the cows at the slaughterhouse? 
    Sounds about right most days. 

  • peter herford

    Karen Kelly reflects what others may feel. The job you like, the job that gives you energy and passion is the best job you can have. The job that requires you to drag yourself out of bed and slog to work dreading the day is the worst job in the world. The only thing worse is the list-mania that is both lazy journalism and bad survey work. The logical end to this process is a list of the 10 best and worst surveys. Pity the useful and well conducted surveys that never deal with the “best” or the “worst”. They ask substantive and carefully designed questions aimed at a deeper understanding of an issue. They inhabit the same space as CareerCast that offers career planners the worst guidance possible. Pity the time and effort it took to assemble this latest list and imagine if the time and energy and money would have been put to a useful purpose.

  • Anonymous

    What a crock! But then you look at the selected criteria and it gets sillier. One of the criteria not listed must have been amount of whining.

  • Patrick Thornton

    Who wouldn’t want to be an actuary?